Originally published in Nirvana Magazine
Have you ever asked youself, “how much of you are you?” Is there a deeper, more real version of yourself waiting for the right time to show up, but for the most part, letting that person out seems just way too risky?
Maybe when you were three years old, someone hurt your feelings, and to survive, you had to protect yourself. To do this, you employed the faculties of your mind to help you create a personality that would keep you safe. Maybe you became the class clown, a straight-A student or Mom’s best helper, and the better you played these roles, the more people liked you. You were safe, loved and appreciated. Who could ask for more?
We are all playing a lead role in a movie made by our minds, and that role is designed to protect us from getting hurt. In general, we try very hard to make a movie that everyone will like. We cast ourselves in this part when we were young, and we are still reading the same lines from the same script in that same movie, 30 or 40 years later. Instead of pleasing our parents, we find ourselves pleasing our boss, our friends, our spouses or even our kids, because the script says, “If I do these things, they will like me.”
Over time, however, we become resentful. We think, “For crying out loud! I do so much for them, you would think they would show some appreciation!” But when we expect everyone in our world to love us back as a return on the investment we made for them, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and disaster.
The mind created this world of illusion to keep us safe at a time when our senses, emotions and intellect were not yet developed. When we were two, we needed this type of protection, but now at 32, we can become the director of our movie and change the script, create a new scene and even take that role that we were always meant to play: our real, vulnerable, loving and powerful self. Living a life without access to this part of yourself will lead in due time to a very depressing experience. The problem is that the mind has you convinced that you can’t truly be yourself. If others don’t love us for who we are, we may get hurt, and that is way too risky.
We let our sense of fear ensure that we never cross over and drive this chariot from the true, real and powerful part of ourselves. We sometimes let our minds convince us that we are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, tall enough, skinny enough… so, we’d better stay put, safely living out a life in the illusion of the mind.
In the world of illusion, we can only be happy when something good happens. If something bad happens, we become unhappy. Our happiness is totally dependent on what’s happening! But the joy of our soul is available to all of us all of the time. It is not dependent on something that happens. It is the expression of our true nature, and by definition, truth never changes.
Please try this exercise: Take a paper and write a letter to someone you love fully, completely, someone you trust with all your heart. Tell them all the wyas that you love and appreciate them. Really go for it. While writing it, know that they will never read this letter. It is for your eyes only. As you write it, become aware of how you feel. If possible, do that now and then come back and finish this article. You will see that as you write this letter, you will actually feel loved, you will feel appreciated and you will feel cared for and even important. All the things we so desperately think we need from someone else to make us feel good, we actually experience all by ourselves when we give love freely, without any concern that the other person will love us back.
This is the game the mind has been playing on us for all these years. To win this game, we have to taste the vulnerability of true love by allowing ourselves to love others unconditionally. “I love you, but it is no concern of yours” means “I now know that what I really seek is to love rather than be loved.”